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Hullabaloo, Qatar, Qatar!

Texas A&M at Qatar and the Middle East squabble.

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Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

When Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties to the Qatar this week for allegedly financing terrorism, one of my first thoughts was what this might mean for the campus of Texas A&M. No, not the one in College Station. The Aggies established an outpost in Qatar in 2003 to teach engineering in the oil and gas rich nation.

A&M reported to me that there are 30 faculty and 49 staff members at the Qatar campus who are U.S. citizens, but the of the 543 students enrolled at the campus, 93 percent are from the Middle East, and 45 percent of them are Qatari. How many Qatari’s attended the A&M College Station campus in 2016? Twelve. “We are in touch with our students, faculty, and staff in Qatar and our branch campus is operating as normal,” a statement I received from A&M this week read.

With A&M tangled in an international crisis, let’s first look at what the other Arab countries are alleging. Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of financially supporting “various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region,” specifically naming the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and Al Qaeda. Egypt’s official statement was that “all attempts to stop [Qatar] from supporting terrorist groups failed.” The capper causing the boycott, according to the Financial Times of London, was Qatar’s agreement to pay $1 billion in ransom to an Al Qaeda affiliate to secure the release of 26 members of a Qatari falconry party taken prisoner in southern Iraq. Qatar, meanwhile, called the whole thing a “campaign of lies.”

This is far from the first controversy involving the tiny Gulf nation, which is the world’s top supplier of liquefied natural gas. (The current controversy might help Texas producers on the spot market, but that’s not the point.) Despite exceedingly hot summer temperatures, Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup in a controversy that included unproven allegations of bribery. In connection to building the World Cup facilities, human rights groups have accused Qatar of effectively turning foreign workers into slaves by stripping them of their passports so they cannot leave. Foreign journalists have been arrested for attempting to report on the migrant worker violations. Qatar also financed the founding of the Al Jazeera television network. The English language version of the network has reported on the human rights violations, but the Arabic version often was the favored network for the speeches of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

So just how did the first state-run university of Texas become wedded to such a questionable state of affairs? Go back to 2003, long before the World Cup, human rights, and Al Jazeera controversies. The emirate had formed the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community, dedicated to building Qatar Education City with the goal of ultimately transitioning the nation into a knowledge economy. The foundation, a combination of private money and government money, would attract American universities to open campuses in Education City by promising to pay for everything from building construction to professors’ salaries, and the universities would receive a management fee. The Washington Post last year reported that A&M receives $76 million a year from the foundation. The 2016 annual report for the campus states, “Texas A&M Qatar’s mission and vision serve the goals of the State of Qatar.”

To celebrate the opening of the campus in 2003, A&M awarded an honorary degree to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort to the Emir of the State of Qatar for the role she played in bringing the A&M Qatar campus to life. A&M’s opportunity to open a campus in Qatar occurred after the University of Texas turned it down, as did the University of North Carolina and Cornell University, where faculty members expressed concerns over alleged human rights abuses. Cornell later established a medical school in Education City.

In the fourteen years of its existence, Qatar’s A&M campus has been relatively quiet; the only blight was a faculty study from 2009 that found 45 percent of the faculty wanted to quit their jobs. Presumably, morale has improved since then. The same lack of controversy cannot be said for Houston Community College’s foray into establishing a campus in Qatar, which became colloquially known as the Crazy College of Qatar. There were questions about whether HCC Jewish professors were allowed to teach there, and whether male and female students could study together. HCC scaled back last year from managing the campus to merely acting as a consultant.

A&M is not alone in Education City. Other major universities operate campuses in Qatar, including Virginia Commonwealth University, the Weill Cornell Medical College, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University, and Northwestern University, which teaches journalism. Student chapters of Amnesty International at A&M and at Cornell were among a group that signed a letter last year demanding the universities engage in pressing for labor reforms. “Qatar is rife with modern slavery and people are dying due to preventable work-related incidents within a few miles of our universities’ campuses,” the letter said.

A new state law signed by Governor Greg Abbott prohibits the state from contracting with any business that has connections to terrorist organizations or Iran. Qatar is among Iran’s chief allies in the Persian Gulf region, and Israel has been critical of Qatar for financial support of Hamas. As the Washington Post reported: “For Hamas, Qatar’s money pumping into the economy is a vital lifeline bolstering its rule.” It is unclear whether Senate Bill 252 would apply to A&M’s contract with the Qatar Foundation since it is the foundation that pays for campus operations, not Texas tax dollars.

A&M spokesman Shane Hinkley declined to address any of the geopolitical questions surrounding the Qatar campus. Hinkley emphasized that the campus is paid for by the Qatar Foundation, but A&M establishes the curriculum and the professors are employees of the College Station university. But between the allegations of Qatar’s financial support of terrorism and of human rights violations, there is enough here for Texans of any political stripe to wonder whether A&M should review its commitments amidst the current hullabaloo (Qatar, Qatar).

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  • WUSRPH

    Maybe the Aggies can win the Gulf Cooperation Council championship…..assuming Qatar isn’t kicked out of the League….being the only team in the conference is about the only chance A&M has of winning the title. But, the game would probably turn out the same way it did in “John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!” with the Arabs winning.

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      • The Aggies established an outpost in Qatar in 2003 to teach engineering in the oil and gas rich nation.

  • Altoidian

    Funny the filthy things Americans will do for money. Nothing is beneath them.

    • Clay Autery

      Bite me! MOST US Citizens would be appalled to have known this. I just found out, and I am already drafting letters and petitions to the Governor and the Legislature.

      • SpiritofPearl

        Well, I’ll bet your reps will be impressed . . .

        • Clay Autery

          Frankly, I have a very good relationship with all of my representatives, house and senate, State and Federal.

          You DO like acting the ©unt don’t you.

          • SpiritofPearl

            You’re white trash.

          • Clay Autery

            Opinions vary.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Bet you wear cowboy boots in the shower . . .

          • Clay Autery

            Bet you suck procreation tools for a living…

            See, we can both be a$$holes, and I assure you that I am MUCH better at it than you. I was trained that way.

            Now, we can keep trading insults, or you can try to justify why you think it is “OK” that a STATE University opens an extension center in a Muslim country training folks in engineering that they will use against us.

            Please do enlighten me, since you clearly think yourself intellectually superior.

          • SpiritofPearl

            You take the prize for anality. At least you’re good at something.

            Adios, bubba. Blocking you . . .

          • Clay Autery

            Don’t let the door hit you in what I assume is a substantial a$$ on the way out… All this could have been avoided had you not been a monumental douche with your original response.

            Buh…. Bye! 🙂

            Don’t go away mad… just go away.

          • BCinBCS

            Clay asked: “…why you think it is “OK” that a STATE University opens an extension
            center in a Muslim country training folks in engineering that they will
            use against us.

            Where did you get that piece of information? How many terrorists anywhere in the world had college degrees? (I assume that you are saying that they will use their degrees against the U.S. in a terroristic manner.)

          • Whollyholeyholy

            The article says 45% of the students are Qatari. They are almost certainly offering an opportunity for American students to go over to study petroleum and chemical engineering where it’s used. This is a great for ambitious engineering students, and doing things like this sets their career path light years ahead when their future employers know the applicant they are looking at can travel and work effectively in a different cultural environment. “Middle East bad terrorist scary!!!” butted up against this tells a whole lot about how life limiting that worldview is.

          • SpiritofPearl

            White trash bubba . . .

          • SpiritofPearl

            Their staff probably hide under their desks when you visit — “the crazy degreed military historian is here again.”

          • WestTexan70

            Flagging you, Bubba. Time for you to sit in the corner for a while.

          • Clay Autery

            Tell your tyrant fluffers to be more respectful towards others and I won’t have to spank ’em.

            Mind your own business, Jack.

          • WestTexan70

            Called out on your poor behavior, so you thrash about like your hero in the WH. Stop making us Over-50-year-old white guys look like babies. It ain’t a good look.

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  • Clay Autery

    Doesn’t matter WHICH pocket the money comes out of… the university is supported by TAX DOLLARS.

    No more engineering educations for people whose religion tells them to kill me and my fellow US Citizens!!!

    • SpiritofPearl

      Christianity?

      • Clay Autery

        Really? The ‘ole feigning ignorance trick? Come on…. Qatar was 67% Muslim… The State of Qatar (official) is an ISLAMIC State where SHARIA is the source of ALL law.

        And that percentage was BEFORE the purges of NON-Islamists began some years ago.

        Geez…

        • george408

          You are mistaking Qatar with Saudi Arabia. Saudis have Wahhabi Sharia Law not Qataris who are the most liberal in Arab countries. Actually, because Qatar is for democracy and freedom in the Arab world, they are hated by head-chopping Saudis!

          • WUSRPH

            You are expecting him to be able to tell one Arab from another….To bigots they are all alike.

          • Clay Autery

            Both of you can kiss my butt crack! I don’t give a rat’s 4th point of contact about ANY of those sewer trenches in the middle east outside of Israel. The people let themselves be enslaved by a world domination scheme masquerading as a religion. Islamists and their murdering, pedophile prophet can all rot in hell.

            BUT, you are BOTH wrong… I looked the facts up.

            “According to Qatar’s Constitution, Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation.”
            “Muslims form 67.7% of the Qatari population”
            “Islamic instruction is compulsory for Muslims in all state-sponsored schools.”
            The ruling family are ALL Muslim.
            They have been ruling despots since they moved to Qatar from Saudi Arabia in the 1700s.
            They FLOG people in public for drinking alcohol… and all the other cool crap you have to endure when you live in an Islamic cesspool.

            Just because Qatar has money doesn’t mean it’s not an evil sponsor of terror.

            Qatar is IRAN’S #1 ally…

            Fracking read a book!

          • WUSRPH

            Speaking of being able to read (in your case the need for being able to comprehend is probably more important)…If you had read the article you would have seen that Texas—the state, A&M, the “taxpayers”, etc.—is not spending any US dollars on this school. In fact, A&M is being PAID by Qatar to run the school.

          • WUSRPH

            It is also a very small nation right on Iran’s doorstep……but that has not seemed to have stopped it from being actively involved in the war in Yemen, both Iraq wars and in overthrowing that really nice guy in Libya. I’m not saying I’d like to live there or have it right next door, but, compared to a lot of other nations in the world—-many of them not Muslim—it is fairly advanced in Western terms…..but, then, they probably see us as a sex, drug and booze crazed butch of idiots who would elect a Trump…
            Since you were so willing to share your views on Islam as a religion, how about sharing with us what you feel about a few more of the world’s theo-religious groupings such as Hinduism, Confususim, Buddhism, Mormonism, Shintoism and the few thousand more different ways various peoples view a deity or their role in the world? Oh, and your views of the various sects among Christendom would also be worth knowing. I’m sure we would all be overwhelmed by your eloquent way of describing other peoples’ sacred beliefs. Your tolerance for others is something to be marveled at.

          • Clay Autery

            Go suck a tail pipe Godless commie!

          • WUSRPH

            Eloquence!…..Oh, such eloquence! I have not read or heard such a display of such compelling authority since the two schoolhouse bullies squared off at recess in the fourth grade. Your ability to synthesize history, theology, sociology, psychology and religious doctrines and beliefs is beyond reproach. We need more child-like intellects like you leading this nation.

          • Clay Autery

            Dude or Dudette (or are you ambiguous),

            I’ve learned not to waste top shelf rhetoric on wannabe leftist tyrant fluffers like you.

          • SpiritofPearl

            “Top shelf rhetoric”? Hahaha!

          • WUSRPH

            Yes, you have certainly mastered living down to your lack of abilities.

          • Clay Autery

            Troll, troll, troll your boat… You leftists are so easy to fluster… 🙂

          • SpiritofPearl

            Hahaha!

          • SpiritofPearl

            What “book” did you look up?

          • Clay Autery

            Done with you… Go be a douche bag to someone else.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Clay informs us he’s a “degreed military historian.”

          • WUSRPH

            So, who isn’t?

          • SpiritofPearl

            Not moi . . .

          • WUSRPH

            But mine was tempered by about 20 course hours of theology and philosophy…..

          • Clay Autery

            20 hours of theology and philosophy… So that’s what allows you to act like a Lord of the Universe? Learn something new everyday.

            You realize that one doesn’t require a University Registrar’s stamp on an “official course” to learn right? Nor do you need an overpaid “professor” shoving their agenda down your throat. All that is really required is a thirst for knowledge and the classical tools of learning. That way your education doesn’t stop when you leave campus.

            PS – So YOU say YOU have a degree in military history? Really? Pretty uncommon. Belief I’ve only met ONE other person, not a career soldier, who had one.

            PPS – I see your theology and philosophy and raise you ACTUALLY living and working in the region. Reality is much different that what your professors told you to think. Much different.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I studied with the Jesuits before I graduated from Indiana. Heavy emphasis with them on philosophy, only two courses in theology . . .

            We’re in Paris at this very moment, staying on the left bank. The Universite de Paris is in the vicinity. Abelard and Eloise fell in love there several hundred years ago.

          • WUSRPH

            You know, of course, what happened to them. I wonder if he was a better philosopher afterwards? What her brothers did might have made him less interested in other things..

          • SpiritofPearl

            Better to have loved and lost,
            Than never to have loved at all.

          • WUSRPH

            That may depend on what you loose.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Your point is not proven.

          Haters gotta hate.

          • Clay Autery

            Ma’am, I am a Cold War warrior and a degreed military historian. I can assure you, I know precisely what Russia represents to the United States. When you and all your lefty friends were screaming “peace dividend” after we “defeated” the USSR in the 90s, I was screaming at the TOP of my lungs that Russia wasn’t “done”, and was STILL a threat. Since then, we’ve systematically ignored and ground the military down into a state almost as bad as the “hollow” 70s…. and considering the relative increase in total world population and extant threats, it is so, so much worse than the post VN 70s.

            I’ve been a historian and political scientist as long as I have been able to read, a decade+ before “punching a ticket” saying so in University.

            I don’t get my foreign policy intel/instruction from a biased and incompetent, commercially motivated media. I actually read the thousands of pages required to stay current on the “Situation”.

            Don’t assume you know more about the world threat matrix and geopolitics. It’s my life.

            Russia will remain an ever-present threat in some respects, but having lefties use “the Russians are coming” is so laughable that it defies reason. Cannot believe y’all can’t see the irony dripping from it… 🙂

            Stop trying to fight the last war and focus on preparing to survive the next one.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I love you bubbas who rant on blogs about their supposed credentials.

          • Clay Autery

            You people are so easy… I could troll y’all from a coma. But I’d be happy to stack my “credentials” and experience up against yours any day snowflake.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Did you get “degreed” in prison, bubba?

          • Clay Autery

            LOL! No. I’m afraid prison is not among my experiences. My formal post-secondary education was quite conventional…. except for the MBA which I worked on while working full time. Work… yeah, that’s what the people who pay the taxes that support Texas A&M do.

            You seem to think that calling me “bubba” is somehow going to “put me on tilt”.
            I’m proud to be a Texan, a county boy, and I EARNED my red neck.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I’m sure you did. Did you learn to be a sexist pig in Texas?

          • Clay Autery

            I’m not a sexist pig… Quite the contrary, in fact.

            You are simply butt hurt because you were a disrespectful little weasel and I gave back as good as I was given.

            Perhaps next time, you’ll think before engaging your superior attitude.

            Love you lefty tyrant fluffers… Y’all always assume you know something (about people) when you know jack squat.

          • John Shepherd

            Not only are your claims about the US military being “systematically ignored,” and “ground…down into a state almost as bad as the ‘hollow’ 70s,” on the contrary, they actually couldn’t be further from reality.

            http://www.pgpf.org/chart-archive/0053_defense-comparison

          • Clay Autery

            If your opposition to my well-stated and easily supportable statements about the state of readiness in the US military is confined to quoting total military spending, then you are too politically and bureaucratically AND economically inept to have an opinion on this subject.

            You have no idea what it takes to maintain a world class military… it’s a monumentally expensive affair… and NO MATTER what you spend, if you don’t retain talent, TRAIN incessantly, and keep maintenance current, your entire investment will crash and burn before your eyes.

            The #1 reason why our defense spending is higher than all those other folks… ALL VOLUNTEER FORCE…. We have to PAY our soldiers competitively or we can’t fill the ranks…

            You know what… it took multiple decades to learn what I know about military planning… I’m not going to make a futile attempt at explaining it to you on a forum thread.

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  • WUSRPH

    Talk about a lot of wasted time, effort, energy and hate…..the Anti-Sharia laws rallies……I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any resident of this country advocating using Shari law to settle anything but internal religious-based disputes including the annulling of marriages (for religious but not civil purposes)….in a fashion similar to which Jews use the Torah and Catholics Canon Law or The Episcopalians, Methodists and others use their forms of ecclesiastical law for ecclesiastical purposes. (Funny we don’t seem to be having any giant rallies to protest against those uses of religious-based law for religious issues.)

    No one has advocated using it in in the US criminal law system…..In fact, the only people who talk about that are the crazies who want to stir up hatred of Muslims……It’s too bad we have so many of them and so many people who are so out-of-touch with reality that they listen to them.

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  • WUSRPH

    I doubt that SB 252 would apply since it deals with companies that do business with Iran or The Sudan or who do business with “foreign terrorist organizations” Qatar is neither of the named countries, nor is it a “company” doing business with Hamas or another terrorist organization….you’d have to stretch it pretty fair by trying to label it some sort of a “terrorist state”…and claim that makes it a “terrorist organization” to even come close to making SB 252 fit this situation…..Of course, if anyone can “stretch” the law for political purposes, Ken Paxton is your man.

  • WUSRPH

    With all his self-declared knowledge and insights—none of which he showed—Clay might have been able to make a contribution to the discussion….but, unfortunately, he could not keep his mouth out of the toilet.

    • WUSRPH

      I wonder if it was just a coincidence that his initials are the same as The Troll’s. Probably, just by chance since The Troll never claimed a degree….but then he does like to hide behind multiple personalities.

      • José

        Looks like they’re different dudes, but oddly enough they both have Louisiana connections.

    • Clay Autery

      Just in case you can still see me…

      Block me.. fine… listen to your own echo. That will certainly disabuse you of your obvious ignorance on so, so many things.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Remember that 70% of online abuse is directed at women. I’ve been following the Twitter feeds of Ms. Grieder as well as other female journalists for over a year. It’s horrifying what they’re subjected to daily.

  • WUSRPH

    Here is a story on the Wisconsin “political gerrymandering” case I have mentioned a few times. You
    may find it of interest. If it is upheld, it could have a major impact on Texas as well as a lot of other places….What
    makes it different is that, in this case, the plaintiffs appear to have finally been able to come up with a test that can demonstrate what the SCOTUS has for many years would be unconstitutional if it could be demonstrated.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-could-tackle-partisan-gerrymandering-in-watershed-case/2017/06/11/e166e3aa-4c5d-11e7-bc1b-fddbd8359dee_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_gerrymander-229pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.3f0e271fa0da

    http://tinyurl.com/y75tov4r

    • SpiritofPearl

      If it goes to SCOTUS, what will be the outcome?

      • WUSRPH

        The idea that partisan redistricting could be unconstitutional was established by the SCOTUS back in the 1980s…but they said several times since then that they had not been able see a case in which it had been proven. What makes the new Wisconsin case different is the plaintiffs appear to have developed a way to demonstrate it……How the SCOTUS will view that is of interest…but remember this is a court that—with Thomas voting with the decision—recently held that using partisan voting results to redistrict could result in racial discrimination….The last time the Court dealt with a partisan redistricting challenge it appeared to be so frustrated by the “proof” problem that it actually discussed the possibility of overturning the original decision that recognized the possibility of unconstitutional partisan redistricting. The fact that someone now claims to have discovered a way to measure and show it may be intriguing enough for the Court to take the case just to hear the arguments.

        • SpiritofPearl

          I hope you are right.

        • R.G. Ratcliffe

          I have talked to several experts on the Wisconsin case affecting Texas, and they generally don’t believe it will because the VRA is the driving force here. One said it might affect Doggett’s district. However, the more recent case out of North Carolina has a much greater potential for impact, particularly in the FW area, where concentrations of black Democratic voters were just treated as Democrats and split up into multiple districts. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/us/politics/supreme-court-north-carolina-congressional-districts.html

  • WUSRPH

    Here is one that suggests that Trump might have a better view of the folks in Qatar if they had not turned him down in the past when he tried to get some of their money. You don’t think that the foreign policy of the United States could be affected by such a little thing as the Quatrains not being wise enough to invest in a coming thing
    like Trump, do you?

    http://tinyurl.com/ya9rxvf3

    • José

      Way back when we were young’uns any country could be a friend of the USA. They could steal, cheat, jail, torture, whatever so long as they said they were against the Commies. Quite a racket.

      Today all they gotta do is let Trump Enterprises build a hotel. Shoot, the head honcho can even be a junior partner.

      • WUSRPH

        I wonder whether we might be going back to those good ole days when the State Dept. starts talking about all the common principles the US shares with the nice guy in Manila who talks about how it is such a good idea to just shoot alleged drug dealers on the street and who claims to have done it himself.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Macron’s party just won the first round of parliamentary elections in a landslide – 39%. Le Pen’s party garnered 14%.

  • WUSRPH

    Virtually no one paid attention to Trump’s big “infrastructure week” last week, primarily because the only proposal he made was a warmed over old one to privatize the FAA and no federal spending. I wonder if he will do any better this week with “apprenticeship week”…..especially when his budget proposal calls for cutting the insufficient amount the federal government now spends on such programs.. At least he won’t have the Comey testimony distracting attention and Sessions wants to talk behind locked doors. Nor will he publicly undermine his secretary of state (we hope) But, based on all that has happened to date, Trump may well find some way to tweet himself into another mess. Let’s hope that having the wife and kid in the WH will distract him. But, whatever happens, it will not be Trump’s fault…just as it never is…..

    • José

      I wonder how Infrastructure Week will be next year, under President Pence.

      • WUSRPH

        By then you would hope they might have gotten beyond talking about Potemkin fantasies into at least building a Potemkin village or two. They need at least a few hundred feet of THE WALL or something else for Trump to pose in front of……

      • SpiritofPearl

        Expect purges, hangings, and burning . . .

  • WUSRPH

    Speaking of Trump lying a lot…a whole lot…I would like to think that he has some understanding or justification for doing it other than that he does it to (a) protect himself or (b) hurt someone else. But, as hard as I try I just cannot picture Trump giving any thought to the ethics or lying or even to the few times when it has been suggested that doing so might be okay.

    This kind of examination used to be something identified with the Jesuits—-probably because when they were being tortured for being Catholic priests in Elizabethan and early Jameson England (where it was a capital offense to be a priest or hide one) some Jesuits suggested that it was ethical to lie when asked whether so-and-so was a Catholic or had hidden him, etc. because that protected their life. (In fact, there was a whole school of ethics called “Mental Reservation” (or Mentalis restrictio) in moral theology in the late Middle Ages that examined when or where lying might be okay or how one could speak with a “mental reservation”.

    (See the Wikipedia articles at:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_reservation#Mentalis_restrictio_in_moral_theology
    or

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_reservation

    for more details.)

    Some students at Jesuit institutions even today might run across the subject….although, most of the concept was condemned by Pope Innocent XI….but there is no evidence that Trump was exposed to it at the boy’s
    military academy his folks shipped him off to to learn discipline….In fact, those kinds of places—like West Point—stress the virtue of “honor” which normally excludes lying as a good thing….Nor is it likely that the ethical/moral justification of lying was a big topic at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania where he went after military school. I guess he just learned to lie by himself…..and to justify it because it advances whatever he wants to do at the moment.

    (The idea of a “mental reservation” covering up the full truth is why sometimes when someone is sworn to tell the truth they add something about “without any mental reservations”.)

    • SpiritofPearl

      Did you know that Trump went to Fordham (Jesuit) for two years before he transferred to Wharton?

      • WUSRPH

        The Jesuits have been blamed for a lot (and banned from a number of countries) over the years…but creating a Donald Trump is beyond even their great capabilities.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Trump was mentally AWOL at all institutions of learning he attended.

  • WUSRPH

    The national Review, the traditional conservative journal, has an article about how Trump’s tweet suggesting he might have tapped his conversations with FBI Director Comey may be as important in determining his fate as were the famous “Nixon tapes” in ending Nixon’s presidency……

    Of course, Trump won’t officially admit that he has tapes…he only hints about them….but we may soon find out since they could be used to prove his claim that Comey is a liar. Several congressional leaders are already suggesting that the Congress should give Trump a chance to prove whether he or Comey is telling the truth, or perhaps whether the “truth” lies somewhere in between what both of them are saying.

    If subpoenas are issued—either by The Congress or the special prosecutor—it will be interesting to see just how Trump responds….Being Trump, he might just say there are no tapes….that I was just trying to make sure that Comey told the truth….If he takes that line—and there are in fact tapes—he had just better hope he does not have an equivalent of an Alexander Butterfield on his staff who just cannot be counted on to lie when asked about them.

    Or, Trump could follow the advice to “take them out and burn them” that John Connally is alleged to have given Nixon (that he did not take to his own sorrow) or there might even be the equivalent of the “missing 18 1/2 minutes gap” in the Nixon tapes. I assume that recording techniques (especially recording and transcribing methods) have gotten so much better since 1973 that a “gap” would not stand out as much as it did then.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Some suspect that if there were tapes, there aren’t any now.

      • WUSRPH

        Of course, one could call that “obstruction of justice”…..but, beyond making him look even worse, it probably would not be sufficient to impeach/convict him…altho it would probably be enough to defeat him for re-election should he try again in 2020 or still be around then.

        There are many people who think that, if in the weeks after the Watergate break-in Nixon had come out and said: “a few of my guys did something stupid and I’ve fired them all” he would have sailed thru the entire mess…He might have won the election by only 55% percent, but other than that he would have come out unblemished . But it was cover-up that did him in. Trump’s ego may be having the same effect on him.

  • SeeItMyWay

    Just checking in. I see that you still have a few posters who go out of their way to get nasty and personal when a new person shows up with some far right viewpoints. “Hater”, “Bubba”, “Sexist” follows in subsequent response order; then the rest of the regular flock chimes in with personal barbs of their own. I wasn’t around long, but long enough to see this same scenario played out a couple of times.

    Mr. Ratcliffe, Texas Monthly seems to have allowed a group of extremely liberal people to commandeer this blog site and rein ad hominem attacks down on anyone who offers up a dissenting, conservative point of view.

    I have seen derogatory references to people who must have, at one time, been regular, conservative leaning contributors here. What happened to them? Did you ban them from participating or did they just wander off and leave it to the remaining band of like minded liberals?

    I bet this site at one time was a very popular place to post with commenters of all persuasions. Right? What happened?

    • José

      I won’t justify the name calling from the left. Did you take a look at the language coming from the new guy? Comments?

      • dave in texas

        Exactly. The answer to “your reps will be impressed” went straight to “you do like acting the (c-word).” Not exactly the ‘top shelf rhetoric’ he said he was capable of.

        • SpiritofPearl

          He started first by insulting W and went on from there. SIMW sees it ONLY his way.

      • SeeItMyWay

        Yes, I did. Not justifying his retorts, but someone always fires the first round. There are a few regulars here with hair-triggers it seems. Have watched this play out several times since I logged in the first time. I love open, loosely “policed” blogs, but feel that chronic, openly hostile, name callers should be warned and then banned if they keep it up.

        • José

          Starting unpleasantries is wrong. Unnecessary use of insulting labels is wrong. Even worse, both practices detract from whatever value we gain from this discussion. (Pearl, dear, I am looking at you.)

          That being said I am flabbergasted that you see fit to criticize one side and not the other. The new guy’s posts were clearly over the line. I don’t often bother reporting unacceptable behavior but I did so this time. Regardless of whoever started what, there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of profane and abusive ranting. Zero.

          I’ve been following BurkaBlog for a good many years. The political makeup of the group has varied. There have been a few posters who were banned outright by moderators for violating code of conduct. To the best of my recollection these were all right wingers. Mr. Autery here appears to be just the latest. Again, it was not their viewpoints but their behavior, and I believe that any objective person would back up that judgment. There are occasionally a few folks from right of center who jump in and join the fun. I wish there were more. On the other hand I’m not going to refrain from critical analysis of their arguments just because it might hurt their feelings. If they’re wrong I’m going to say so and it might be blunt.

          Thanks for your commentary. Again, I would appreciate it more were it evenhanded. We have good tools available—blocking individual posters, reporting them if necessary, and of course just refusing to respond to baiting.

          • SeeItMyWay

            Hey, the guy was wrong. He took the bait and fired back, like most do when slapped or cussed. He went way overboard, but the fact remains that someone has to start it. I’ve expierenced Pearl’s personal blasts. It seems this has been her style since long before I first logged in. Not sure why TM or the rest of you tolerate it – even if you are on the same political wavelength.

        • WUSRPH

          I was kind of hoping that, with his claimed credentials, he could contribute…..but he apparently did not want to discuss….Only proclaim and then attack anyone who disagreed. I probably should not have called him a “bigot” but when someone talks about the “Islamic cesspool” one tends to react.

          It is true, as he could have pointed out, that some Muslims preach killing non-believers…..and that should be condemned….just as should the practices of Christians toward Muslims in prior centuries…..

          just as we should condemn the likes of the congressman from Louisiana (and Trump during the campaign) who call for killing all those who follow a belief or movement including (in Trump’s case) their wives and children. Such blanket condemnations are, and should be called, bigotry. (I hadn’t heard or read of such vile explanations for mass murder since the SS was explaining the necessity of killing all Jewish children in order to make sure they did not grow up and seek revenge for the killing of their parents.)

          We need some informed and civil comment from the right, left and middle…..but people who think it is okay to use the “c-word” as a rejoinder we don’t need or want.

          • SeeItMyWay

            Oh, I understand that he was over the top and “not wanted”, but it was Pearl’s getting personal that took it to a higher plane. She did it to me a few weeks back because, it seems, I simply had a different viewpoint.

          • WUSRPH

            The problem is that a serious, informed person with the credentials he claims for himself is “wanted”…..what is not wanted is someone who tells people to suck a tail pipe and uses the “cword” because they are unwilling or unable to shape a serious argument.

            PS. Sometimes you just have to ignore me, Peal and even Jose….but that may be the price of contributing….I doubt your ego is that tender. So, come on back and stay awhile….

          • SpiritofPearl

            If attacked I will reciprocate.

            For some reason SIMW failed to critique Autery, yet pounced on me.

            Women on this blog — and most others — have received revolting attacks on their ideas and opinions. Lilly was threatened with “slapping” and “electrocution” as well as other more hideous assaults. I have also been threatened and have had disgusting remarks posted in old comments that only I would see vis-a-vis Disqus. The men who engage in these attacks are sick individuals — and those who ignore them are just as guilty.

            Follow Erica’s twitterfeed or those of other female journalists. Erica certainly is no liberal, yet she receives abuse daily from men.

            What do these men fear?

            “Non, je ne regrette rien.”

            — Edith Piaf

          • SeeItMyWay

            I’ll not condone bad behavior toward women. I never have.

            I do not know you; I have not been around here long enough to know where you are coming from. I do know anger and hate when I see it.

            I never lashed out at you. I barely ever responded to your posts, yet you chose to mine in a personal and confrontational manner.

            I see it; others obviously do. You, obviously, don’t.
            Woman, or man, I am surprised that Texas Monthly allows you, or posters like your recent antagonist, to stay around. In my opinion, you add nothing to the discussion except the aforementioned anger and hate, and you make it personal.

    • John Bernard Books

      Most left because its a waste of breath to try to have a discussion with the left. I left because my golf game beckoned….3 first place, 2 2nd place, 1 4th place and 1 5th place finishes so far this year.
      Why would I waste my breath arguing with a bored state worker that has 8 hrs to kill.

    • BCinBCS

      A word of advice SeeIt: Before drawing conclusions, check the data. Go read the foul exchange by the newly posting conservative Clay Autrey and before you start blaming liberals for running off conservatives, go into past blogs and read the comments.

      (It’s advice like this and requirement to back many outlandish claims that caused many conservatives to leave. Whether conservative or liberal BB commenters do not suffer fools lightly.)

  • WUSRPH

    QUOTATION OF THE DAY

    “You may be the first president in history to go down because you can’t stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just were quiet, would clear you.”

    SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM, Republican of South Carolina, on “Face the Nation,” criticizing President Trump for
    continuing to tweet about a government inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

    (from the NY TImes)

    Virtually no one–except Trump because it hurts his pride to think they helped him win—thinks that the Russians weren’t up to no good during and leading up to 2016 elections. The question to be decided is whether it was done in collusion with Trump. I can almost accept that it was not….That it was done for their own reasons and that there was no agreement or collusion with or even prior notice of what they would do next to the Trump campaign. However, Trump keeps acting like he has something to hide…..He may just convict himself in the mind of a majority of the American people…..but with an ego as bloated as his (with no apparent justification) he just cannot seem to do anything but wildly strike out at anyone and anything that suggests that he did not accomplish it all on his own.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Al Capone’s last days come to mind . . . he couldn’t be quiet at Alcatraz.

    • dave in texas

      I’m almost positive there wasn’t any collusion between Trump and the Russians, if for no other reason than it would require forethought and planning, something that this president and the people around him have proven themselves manifestly incapable of doing.

      • anonyfool

        Trump just comes across as the poster child for the Russian useful idiot. His underlings from all evidence we have now publicly available were compensated for pushing the Russian agenda.

  • WUSRPH

    Trump’s praising himself again—and forcing all the cabinet members to abuse themselves by praising him in public while he sits there and eats it up….This might be funny if it was not so pathetic.

    http://tinyurl.com/y9gqwmmw

    • BCinBCS

      I saw that on the evening news and I was embarrassed for the cabinet members and for Comrade Trump/Bannon.

  • WUSRPH

    Please feel free to comment, too. I have learned things from the drop-bys or the right wingers, etc.

    • SeeItMyWay

      Ha. I doubt that.

      • WUSRPH

        Actually, I learn new things all the time from all kinds of sources.
        It keeps your mind alive. It is those who know it all like the troll who bother me.

        • SeeItMyWay

          Before my time, I guess. How many have come and gone with you and a few others remaining? Why would they leave? Why do you stay?

          • José

            Several of us might take exception to being labeled as libs. Like me. I would much rather define someone by where they stand on issues than by labels. Once upon a time a conservative was someone who thought that the government ought to pay its bills, and that people should be treated equally and fairly, and that elected officials shouldn’t impose their personal religious beliefs and moral codes on free citizens. That’s back when I was a Republican.

            We’ve had some right of center contributors recently. A fellow who goes by the handle roadgeek drops in every once in a while. The discussion can get sharp but I think it generally remains civil. And a West Texas radio talk show guy named Robert Pratt (AKA PrattonTexas) occasionally posts a comment. I’m glad they do. (But please don’t tell roadgeek.)

            But honestly the majority of righties seem to be loud obnoxious types who, in my judgment, contribute little or nothing to the discussion but instead pollute the page with insults, taunts, and meaningless invectives. Rarely does anyone try to support a conservative argument with logic and evidence. Most seem to drop in for a few days and then leave. Over the past several years there were three contributors to BB who who stand out because of their frequent posts over a long duration and their right wing point of views. One of them, Blue Dogs, was a real hot head who eventually got himself banned after a particularly vicious outburst that included threats of physical violence. One of them, who we call JJ, is currently on hiatus I think. WU and others exchanged a lot of words with JJ, usually without too much fisticuffs. I gave up on him a long while back because he seemed impervious to reason and consistency. Plus he crossed my threshold for acceptable behavior one too many times. It was a waste of my time and patience. And then there’s Charlie, who WU calls “the troll” for entirely justifiable reasons. He thrives on attention and loves to create a ruckus. It’s all verbal hand grenades with him; you’ll never find him willing to account for his behavior or his lies. No intention of advancing knowledge or understanding, only seeking to weaken and undermine others. That’s evil according to my rule book. I just ignore him and wish everyone would do likewise.

          • SeeItMyWay

            Thanks for taking the time to clue me in. That was over and above, and appreciated.

          • WUSRPH

            As Jose points out, you assume way too much about the political views of many of those who post here regularly. I, for example, am about as much of a “fiscal responsibility”, “pay as you go”. “fiscal conservative” type as you can find….That used to be a GOP principle…but that died with Ronald Reagan’s nearly doubling the national debt.. Similarly, in defense policy I am a firm believer in using our military strength whenever it can be effective. Where we might differ is in deciding when that is the case….i.e.–I see Iraq I as probably yes, but, Iraq II, as a no. Neither of those basic positions comes close to what you would term a “liberal”….In fact, it is probably my libertarian-leaning “social liberal” views that you would find to be the most liberal….Where I may tend to go over the edge a bit is in reacting to hypocrisy……Which I view as probably The Great Sin.

      • WUSRPH

        I iearn new things all the time from all kinds of sources. It keeps the mind alive.

  • WUSRPH

    Is anyone else having a problem getting to the comments? I can not get to them from my PC but can by my phone..

  • WUSRPH

    Is anyone else having a problem getting to the comments? I can not get to them from my PC but can by my phone..

    • José

      No problems

    • BCinBCS

      Me neither.
      (Mac using Safari.)

      • WUSRPH

        I cannot get access to the comments on any of the TM blogs thru my home computer. But it works thru the cell phone. Is this what happens when you are banned?

        • BCinBCS

          I don’t know about banning.

          Do you log-in using the same username and password on your phone as on your computer?
          Have you tried the old stand-by of quitting and rebooting your computer?
          What do yo use…a mac or PC?
          Which browser do you use?

          • WUSRPH

            The magic computer fixers at TM solved the problem….I use the same id, etc. for the task of getting to and posting on, etc. Of course, I tried rebooting and using in-private browsing, etc. but nothing could get pass the twirling disqus circle. I use a conventional PC, Microsoft Windows 10, Explorer all the usual stuff. I don’t know what they did, but the webmaster people at TM fixed it.

          • BCinBCS

            I’m glad that it’s resolved.

        • SpiritofPearl

          No. (I speak from personal experience.)

  • José

    It’s a great idea. I’m happy that he’s continuing the program.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/opinion-obama-apprenticeship-trump-should-continue-n702756

  • WUSRPH

    Thank you nice computer people….Things are now working.

  • WUSRPH

    Every few years a bunch of primarily younger voters who have never been involved before show up in the Democratic Party all hot to change the world…..They make a brief impact like they did for McGovern in 1972, Obama in 2008 and Bernie last year…..And every time there is talk about how they are going to reshape the party (often by moving it further to the left, etc.) BUT within a couple of years all that frenzy had died down and the “establishment’ Democrats were back on top again….if you consider today’s Virginia Primary as a sign, it only took less than 6 months this time.

  • WUSRPH

    Just the kind of programs we need—assuming that Trump does not cut the funding as his “budget” proposes….In fact, Hillary had a series of proposals along this line, including tuition fee education at junior colleges/tech schools…..So it is not something Trump pulled out of his…..

    The fact that these young workers can, in the best of cases, start out at $60,000 per year is great,….but, when you consider that $60,000 ain’t what it used to be and that that is not “the typical” new job…Trump is still on a Potemkin Tour.

    But it is definitely something that needs to be further encouraged….including with FEDERAL DOLLARS and/or tax incentives……It does not, however, eliminate the need for a broader based education than simply technical training to meet businesses needs….You can do that with machines—and are doing more with them every year. Arts, humanities and all those things you sneer at are what make live enjoyable which day-by-day work may not. In addition, they help the worker become flexible enough to adjust to some new challenge when the job they apprentice for today is filled by a machine.

  • WUSRPH

    As you refuse to acknowledge, education has to serve to fill the needs of more than just an employer doing working hours…It also has to help make the individual worker’s off-the-job hours more enjoyable and worthwhile.

    • SeeItMyWay

      Really? Spend thousands of dollars and months of time learning how to spend leisure hours? Not sure who you are, how you were raised, or where, but that statement caused me real pause. I am still scratching my head.

      • WUSRPH

        People will outlive their “job” (and probably have to learn a new one several times over their “working life”)….They need more than that to live a complete, worthwhile life over the many more hours and years they will live beyond their jobs. This is going to be more and more true as more and more of the technical skilled jobs these apprentices are being trained to fill are filled by automation and computers. But you apparently can’t see beyond the immediate needs of an employer who would replace those workers as soon as the machines can do the job as well or better. And has done just that throughout economic history.

      • BCinBCS

        SeeIt, a good analogy for an education (versus training) is beer. Yea, beer.

        Craft beer is the new thing. Everyone wants to try the many, many flavor combinations of the great craft beers that are being brewed today. Beers are being treated like wines with consumers noting the flavor mix, aroma and mouth feel of each variety.

        I don’t know of a single person, however, who, after drinking their first beer, exclaimed how fantastic it tasted. My fist sip of beer as a child tasted horrible and it took me quite a while before I came to love the taste of beer; it took exposure to learn to appreciate its taste.

        Exposure to new and different things is what a liberal education gives you. It opens your eyes to a wonderful world and, even more thn that, it allows you to see the complexity and beauty deep within. In other words, it teaches you about “beer” so that you can then enjoy its subtleties.

        • SeeItMyWay

          Funny. Whatever floats your boat – but I want you to understand that I don’t need to pay someone a bunch of money and sit in a classroom to learn how to enjoy life, and I don’t need to know all the subtleties of beer production to enjoy one.

          • WUSRPH

            As I have said before, the difference is our views on the value and purpose of education are too great to be resolved here with a few posts…if they could be resolved, which I doubt.

            You see the educational system (whether in schools or in apprentice programs) as something to churn out well trained workers for the world of business. You refer to students as “products” of the system almost like they were bricks being shaped and cured by some mold.

            We see it as preparing humans to live in the world….both in having a job…and in being able to understand and develop throughout their lives. We refer to them as educated human beings.

            We are willing to spend the time and money necessary to provide that broader education…You want to spend the fewest dollars and hours possible to provide only the minimal skills necessary to hold down a job from 9 to 5…

            Once those difference are understood there is little reason to continue the discussion….but I can only hope that your view does not prevail as the bland world populated by even blander people it would produce is not one most would want to live in.

            So, let’s move on to something else.

  • WUSRPH

    Sessions came off tough and strong….but, as a few people must have noticed, he still did not answer most of the questions (beyond admitting that he lingered by the door at the meeting at which Trump threw the rest of them out for a private talk with Comey. Eventually some prosecutor or congressional investigator is going to say: All right, Mr. President, either let your aides (and yourself) answer our questions are invoke Executive Privilege, but let’s stop playing this in-between stalling one way or the other.

  • WUSRPH

    And I know you missed the point. Employer trained apprentices are great…need more of them….but people need to be more than “trained” (which you can do with an animal) they need to be “taught” to be able to think and develop over their entire life. You are talking about producing “worker drones”…I am talking about creating a whole human being.

    • SeeItMyWay

      Nope, I didn’t. Have you ever actually had a job that entailed producing a tangible product?

      Researchers report that people remember 90 percent of what they do, 75 percent of what they say, and 10 percent of what they hear.

      • WUSRPH

        If you mean like a car or piece of furniture, the answer is No. If you mean something that required thought, skill, training and repetition and had to be finished, complete, wrapped up and done with every day, day-after-day like a daily newspaper, YES.

        • SeeItMyWay

          Researchers report that people remember 90 percent of what they do, 75 percent of what they say, and 10 percent of what they hear.

          Designing a car? Designing the robotics to build the car? Drawing plans for a piece of furniture and understanding how the equipment works that will turn out the pieces? Working next to people selling a product?

          • WUSRPH

            All the same steps, in some form or another, were required to produce that daily newspaper even if the “product” was not as durable as others. What makes the job of the hole digger different from that of the nuclear physicist is that the complexity and the thought process required increases as you move up the scale. We need more people who can handle that increased demand….There will always be someone (or some machine) that can be trained to push a button at an appropriate place in the process…..but those are going to be fewer and fewer…..

          • SeeItMyWay

            Never mentioned ditch digging; the issue of man or machine actually building the product makes no difference. Someone has to design, and build machines to build the machines that build.

          • WUSRPH

            I agree “someone” or, more and more “some machine” will have to design and build the machines that build….But as rewarding as that can be….there is a much bigger world out there for which you must be “educated” beyond the level of “training” you seem to think is appropriate. Once more–and I hope for the last time—-the purpose of education is to do more than produce a worker bee ready on the first day of the job….it is to help form a human being whose life will involve much, much more than just that job for which you would train him…..As daily life becomes less and less dependent on human labor, man may have to turn back to the kinds of things those Old Greeks you disdain so much thought and talked about in order to find a real purpose for his existence. Much of the answers and the skills to live in a world where creativity and the mind are what separates humans from machines will have to come from those very liberal arts and theoretical sciences you think are wasting the taxpayers money.

          • SeeItMyWay

            You seem to think critical thinking is only obtainable in a college classroom.

            Furthermore you seem to keep wanting to ignoring this statement, which I agree with 100%:
            Researchers report that people remember 90 percent of what they do, 75 percent of what they say, and 10 percent of what they hear.

            You train a guy to haul bricks; you educate a guy in an on-the-job apprentice program at a Kraft R&D facility.

          • WUSRPH

            I do not deny that critical thinking skills can be presented in other than a college classroom. But you keep ignoring my statements that education must be more than “training” for a job. And, to date, no one has come up with a better method than the basic framework of a college classroom (even if it is over a TV for people miles apart) to provide the education required to make the rest of a human’s life worthwhile and rewarding. I think Albert Einstein described it well when he said:

            “It is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them from books. The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”

            Nor can it be learned by showing someone how to do a job in an apprentice program.

          • BCinBCS

            W, I would add that not only do colleges “train” people for their vocation and, as you stated, teach critical thinking but they also require students to learn about other subjects not related to their degree as well as offer an environment rich in thought, culture and experiences.

  • Kareneemerson

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !dh11c:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. Follow this link for more information
    !dh11c:
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  • SeeItMyWay

    I

    • WUSRPH

      As I said, we don’t agree on the basic question of what is the purpose of “education”..so it is not worth carrying this one….but the difference between “education” and “training” is not the length of time of the instruction, but the intention.

      • SeeItMyWay

        You are splitting hairs.

        I’m going to go with Mercian-Webster’s definition rather than yours:

        educated; educating
        transitive verb
        1
        a : to provide schooling for – “chose to educate their children at home”
        b : to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession

        • WUSRPH

          It is those last seven words that make the difference: “especially in a skill, trade or profession.” That is what you think is the purpose of education….But not my view—nor the view of people involved in education rather than “training”.

          • SeeItMyWay

            By definition, to train is to educate.

          • WUSRPH

            As I have said, the narrowness of you view and your attitudes makes this discussion a waste of my time. I am only glad that—so far—attempts like you advocate to turn “institutions of higher learning” into factories producing worker drones have been mostly unsuccessful. It is an age-old battle and we must always be aware that those who measure everything by its dollar worth will always try to destroy things–like knowledge–that can not be priced. Rick Perry tired that…explaining at one point that the Texas Cancer fund would not finance “basic science” research because it did not produce immediate wealth. I suspect you would agree.

          • SeeItMyWay

            You amuse me -as most “intellectuals” do. You think that some classroom is the only place where “enlightenment” can be found. I find that view to be very narrow with hints of an elitist tilt to it. I think I am fully capable of philosophizing with you, and I had only 3 hrs of sociology and 3 hrs of psychology which I have never looked back on or used. Much like my advanced math courses.

          • WUSRPH

            To perryphrase Jim Hightower’s early campaign slogan: BASTA!

            Of course “enlightenment” can be obtained outside the classroom…BUT the mind has to be stimulated and some structure provided—even if it is only the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic—to make it capable of enlightenment. When you are trying to educate a mass of people the use of the conventional classroom is the most feasible, economic and practical method developed to date. Individual instruction, use of a computer, etc. has its place…but it is more of a supplement to the mass instruction provided in the classroom that builds the foundation.

            As to the value of your having taken philosophy and sociology…. Sometimes what you “learn” appears to have no immediate or specific use—or uses you fail to recognize—but just knowing what something is about may be an education that expands your viewpoint beyond that of only the monetary and the material….which is a important goal of education. I bet you have used some of the insights that you (I hope) received from them in your daily life, just like you use the logical structure you learned from Algebra and math to develop questions and their answers without ever realizing it.

            P.S. I have never claimed or even though of myself as an “intellectual”….I might meet your biased, limited view of the meaning of the term, but certainly not what it really means. At best, I am a fairly well educated person with a limited knowledge of a broad spectrum and an understanding and acceptance of the fact that there is so much more that I do not know. I have no pretenses about being the “wisest man in the world” in the tale about Socrates and the Oracle at Delphi.

            P.S.P.S. You are not “philosophizing”. You have no interest in examining thoughts to get to a better understanding and a purer knowledge of reality. You are debating with a fixed position that would not change no matter what someone else says…..And, there is no purpose to be served by continuing…..So, BASTA!

          • SeeItMyWay

            Shut up??? Shame on you.

            You do know that the number of words does not get you a higher grade in my class. You ran a newspaper? Really? All the editors I know who “trained” me were sticklers about succinctness.

            And that is as personal a comment as I care to make. No mas.

          • BCinBCS

            I could be wrong but I’ve always thought that basta meant “enough!” not “shut up”.
            WUSRPH?

          • WUSRPH

            You are correct. It means ENOUGH…and we clearly have had enough on this subject. He mistranslated it or used an incorrect colloquial usage. He is right about succinctness….It is a good rule to follow when possible…as Jefferson is alleged to have said: “Why use three words when two will suffice?”

          • SeeItMyWay

            You are right.

          • BCinBCS

            SeeIt: “By definition, to train is to educate.

            I can end this silly argument…
            SeeIt, if you want to use the word educte to describe training, then so be it.
            W, SeeIt now has the right to use educate when he means train. Please find another word to describe what colleges and universities do.

            Done.

        • José

          Earlier today I was curious enough to look up the definitions for myself. One explanation made a lot of sense to me. Education is the gaining knowledge and building one’s intellect. It’s personal. Training is acquiring skills, typically for a vocation. Interestingly, many higher level curricula today are actually training rather than education. Degrees in computer programming, for example.

          There’s nothing whatsoever lowly about training. Even the professions that we regard as “highly educated” require a good deal of training. Professors work as teaching assistants during grad school. Physicians have internships.

          While I haven’t read every word of today’s arguing it appears to me that there’s an unwillingness to acknowledge some basic facts that seem obvious to me. One is that education and training are complementary. Another is that different individuals need different proportions of them. That’s driven in part by their professions but also by their interests and other life considerations. I don’t think that anyone has asserted that in order to live a meaningful life every person must have a formal education in the humanities at a higher level institution. Nor have I seen anyone say that such an education is sufficient for someone to make a living.

          I strongly believe that some basic level of education is beneficial to the individual. A good high school level might well be satisfactory. It’s possible, of course, that a few people are capable of educating themselves but they are the exceptions and there is a much better chance that they will get that sort of education at a real school with *trained* teachers.

          • SeeItMyWay

            Thank you. We agree 100%.

          • WUSRPH

            So you would not have any problem with another Jefferson quote:

            “The mass of our citizens may be divided into two classes — the laboring and the learned. The laboring will need the first grade of education to qualify them for their pursuits and duties; the learned will need it as a foundation for further acquirements.”

            But, in this case, it would be two classes of knowledge….training for the masses and education for the elite.

            While I recognize that not all individuals need to know all the fine details about everything…and that different individuals have different capabilities and interests….I am not as elitist as Jefferson clearly was.

            It is the failure of our system to provide that basic level of education you would find acceptable that has led to the rise of anti-science and the idea of “alternative facts” shown in such things as the fights over medical vaccinations and the origin of the universe. And, must I add, in the election of Donald Trump.

            Clearly we have yet to meet Jefferson’s test of an “An enlightenecitizenry …indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”
            And the proposal made by SeeItMyWay to allow high school and college students to opt out of any course above the most basic level that does not interest them or that they feel does not contribute to their immediate prospects of wealth would make the situation even worse.
            .”

          • BCinBCS

            Well said, W, well said.

          • José

            Plenty of words have already been said but you did ask a question or two.

            I disagree with Mr. Jefferson’s simplistic model of two distinct classes. In fact I wouldn’t even agree that we all fall on a one dimensional spectrum with labored and learned as the two extremes.

            You and I are of like mind in believing that a higher education is an ideal for pretty much everyone, and that the lack of such learning in our citizenry is a detriment to our society. We also share the same concerns about SIMY’s suggestion that universities ought to function more as trade schools. My alma mater is highly regarded for its science and engineering departments and I graduated from a rigorous program there. But my school also required every student to study a broad base of subjects. I am truly grateful for that education and am aware of how it shaped me in my personal and professional life. While I might agree with SIMY that some folks put too much emphasis on the necessity of an advanced education in the humanities, it’s my belief that every person should have both the opportunity and the encouragement to get a good basic education. We aren’t doing that as well as we should and the trend is disturbing.

  • WUSRPH

    School finance: Where do we go from here?

    The late Craig Foster, founder of the Equity Center and fighter for school funding equity, used to periodically have a mini-debate over where was the best place to expect a “solution” to the continuing crisis in Texas education. I would hold out “hope” that the Legislature could (and eventually would) act. Craig, on the other hand, had little faith in the Legislature but felt that—if given the appropriate facts—the Texas judicial system would (eventually) force the Legislature to act. Today—after the end of the Regular Session and after the Texas Supreme Court rejected its latest opportunity—it is again clean that both of us were wrong.

    I based my view on my commitment to the Legislature of more than 30 years and the fact that at least once in the period—-with the adoption of the “Bullock Plan” for financing public education as part of HB 72 in 1984—the Legislature had taken major steps in that direction and laid out a plan to take even more in the following years.

    Craig’s pessimism about the Legislature was based on his numerous attempts to get Legislative action and, most regrettably, on the fact that the Bullock Plan was never funded to the levels envisioned when it was
    adopted and, in fact, was effectively gutted by the actions of the very next Regular Session. (He later was frequently quoted as saying that there would have been no reason for the continuing lawsuits against the State had the Legislature lived up to the promise of HB 72.)

    So, where do we go from here? Back to the legislature and loose again…or back to the courts, this time with a federal action based on the equal protection guarantee of the 14th Amendment altho a win on those grounds
    could be as dangerous as a victory? As a mere bi-stander on the process my view are no longer of interest (if they ever were)…but what about those of you who are still involved in the day-by-day life of Texas?

  • WUSRPH

    One thing people in Washington DC are quickly learning about Trump: DON’T TURN YOU BACK TO HIM or he is certain to first stab you in the back and then slit your throat. How would you like to be one of those US Reps. who were called to the WH and given the full “for God, Country and Me” (or in Trump’s case…”For ME, god and country”) routine to vote for Trump/Ryan care only to have him now declare it to be a “mean bill” that should not be passed by the Senate? You showed your loyalty to the party and Trump and your reward is a large pointed instrument sticking out of your back. I wonder how many times he will be able to get votes in such situations in the future?

  • WUSRPH

    In a possibly overlooked move this week, Trump has conceded that, contrary to his claims during the campaign, he does not know more than all the generals. Despite his claims to superior knowledge and intelligence over all military leaders, Trump has given the generals/sec. of defense the power to determine what the troop levels should be in Afghanistan…..a power tightly controlled by the WH during both the two prior presidencies that had to deal with that age-old conflict. Of course, one hopes that he has maintained a ultimate veto if things go wrong…but he has also given himself a defense of “I listened to the professionals” if the casualty rates get high enough for the public to complain.. I recognize that the some militarists, as distinguished from the “military” are reluctant to give up on the struggle in Afghanistan. But at some point you would hope that someone would remind them that everyone power that has come into the region from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union has eventually found that the “cost” of trying to establish a “stable” Afghanistan, if only for a few years, is too great of any effort. Alexander temporarily got control by marrying Roxanne, the daughter of the major Afghani leader of the time (she was said to be either the first or second most beautiful woman in the world, with her competitor for that title being another Ms. Great, the widow of the last Persian emperor who he had defeated.) Following Alexander’s example might fix with Trump’s apparent views on the sanctity and length of marriages, but at the present time there does not seem to be a likely candidate for the “honor”.

  • WUSRPH

    On the Washington congressional baseball team shooting: The conservatives are blaming the liberals…the liberals are blaming the ease of getting a gun and the rise of violence (which some connect to Trump) in our society….Bernie is shocked that the gunman volunteered for his campaign. What this shooting just confirms again and again that the far right AND far left attractive fanatics who see nothing wrong with taking to the gun (or the truck bomb in Oklahoma City) to advance their “cause”. In America this seems to be a phenomena more common on the right, than on the left (who has ever heard of a “moderate terrorist”)….but it is not something that sober minds approve. The question is what can be done to discourage it while staying with our traditions of personal liberty? If a fanatic is fully committed to their cause, laws will not stand in their ways…..but we might delay or distract some by having (or enforcing) laws that would make it harder for a person with the shooter’s prior record to get a deadly weapon. What we don’t want to do is to sacrifice the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments (among other rights and laws) out of some overreaction to what is still an infrequent event. As Franklin put it:”Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    • anonyfool

      The first step is to remove the federal prohibition on scientific studies on gun violence. Even the right wing GOP guy who wrote the bill says this current situation is not what he intended.

  • WUSRPH

    In light of today’s vote on sanctions against Russia does anybody have any thoughts on the question of how much confidence the US Senate has in Trump’s judgement when it comes to relationships with the Russians. I would hope Trump will get the message that, when 97 of the 100 US Senators, both vote to extend the sanctions on your good buddy Putin AND to bar you from lifting them without congressional approval, they are try to tell you something. Of course, Reagan didn’t pay any attention when the Congress said no to more funding for the Contras in Nicaragua…instead, he went around them and ….despite the fact that he had repeatedly declared them to be bad guys… used the profits from secret arm sales to Iran to finance the Contras; but it would be harder to lift public trade and travel sanctions than it would be to raise money from the sale of weapons….although I am sure that Iran would be interested…..

    • SpiritofPearl

      I was surprised to learn the shooter’s hometown. Belleville, IL, is definately to Bernie Country.

      • WUSRPH

        Being in a area where what you support is so strongly rejected can just make a person who already has mental stability problem feel even more persecuted and make them even angrier.

        • SpiritofPearl

          My father and paternal grandparents are buried there. Economically depressed . . . somewhat of a suburb of STL.

    • José

      The encouraging development is that some GOP Senators finally broke with the President. Maybe it will be easier for them to oppose him again. And again.

    • anonyfool

      Wouldn’t they have to pass the same bill in the House as well or is this a Senate only thing? It’s doubtful anything useful would get through the House with the GOP in charge.

      • WUSRPH

        It requires both house and there might be enough votes in the House for increased sanctions….but the important development is that the Senate has sent a clear sign that they do not trust Trump to deal with the Russians…..If you were dealing with a normal president, that would result in him restricting his own actions….but with Trump it might stir him up to go the opposite direction. A damaging impact is that it also suggests to foreign governments with which Trump might try to negotiate some agreement that he may not have the support in Congress to get anything approved. This might make them less agreeable to negotiations..

  • WUSRPH

    I assume you saw where Texas House Speaker Joe Straus yesterday criticized both the Texas Senate and, indirectly, Gov. Abbott for their preoccupation with where people go to the bathroom and their desire to rob public education to fund a vouchers program. Straus also stressed that during the upcoming special session the House, under his leadership, would continue to try to address the larger problems of public education as it did with HB 21 during the Regular Session.

    Straus’s commitment to more funding for all of public education and not just the vouchers to allow special students to pay tuition at private schools and a teachers pay raise financed by local funds, not the state as advocated by the governor, puts special pressure on Abbott and his legal advisers to draft a very tight and restricted “call” or list of subjects that the legislature may consider during the special session, now set for July 18th.

    Both court rulings and existing legislative precedents make it clear that the governor cannot use the call of the session to limit just what the legislature can do on a subject. At best, he can pick the issue, but not determine how it will be handled. For example, in the leading case on the subject the governor’s call was to cut taxes, but the legislature wound up raising one which the courts upheld on the grounds that all the governor could do was determine the subject—in this case—“taxes” but it was up to the legislature to decide what to do about them.
    This means the governor has to find a way to draft the call so that there is no opening for the House to do more than he wants. That could be very difficult. There could be a particular problem with writing a tight call for the proposed $1,000 per year across-the-board pay raise for teachers. The governor clearly does not want to spend any State tax dollars to finance the raise and wants to force local districts to come up with the funds…However, his call is going to have to include wording authorizing the funding of the raises which excludes words like “funding public education” etc.

    Needless-to-say, Straus, as the House’s presiding officer, can interpret the call as he sees fit since he will be the person who ultimately rules on any point-of-order challenging the House’s right to consider a subject against a challenge that the subject is not included within the governor’s call. He could also just ignore the call entirely and send a new version of HB 21 to the education committee, which would likely report such a bill back to the House. Doing that would force the governor and whatever House members who raised a point-of-order to go on the public record as opposing more aid for local schools—a declaration they might not want to make prior to the elections next year.

    All in all, it could get interesting.

    • WUSRPH

      I am told that a plan other than HB 21—improving public ed funding even better than the House proposal —was developed by those hardworking folks at the Equity Center before last session and is still available if the legislature is interested in doing more than just a pay raise and vouchers. The plan was so balanced that even Sen. Taylor, chair of the Senate Education Committee, signed on and filed it as SB 2145 during the regular session. He held a hearing on the bill, but left it pending in committee, probably because Patrick was so committed to not passing a general funding bill but was insisting on some sort of vouchers bill being the only bill the Senate would approve.

      If Taylor is aboard and the House is still interested in a broader, more permanent fix, this plan could go a long way in that direction. The ONLY real problem might be getting the Governor and Lt. Gov. Patrick to agree to open the call to the subject (as discussed above). Neither one apparently wants to spend any more state tax dollars on public ed but would rather divert funds to vouchers…so the question becomes whether the pressure is sufficient to get them to move.

      • BCinBCS

        I hate to dump this on you but would you comment on what is in the Equity Center proposal and its ramifications?

        • WUSRPH

          This is the description I received:

          ” It is based on the best parts of the current system, emphasizing both vertical and horizontal equity. It guarantees that each district that taxes at the same level will have the same funding level—equal funding for equal effort, all across the board. The LBB described it as the most equitable school finance plan ever filed. It greatly simplifies calculations, to the point one Senator remarked, “I can understand that!” Special funding for certain groups that are not based on the cost (as identified by the state when it funds other districts) were removed, but the plan retains extra funding when there are extra costs associated with the education of certain children (e.g. bilingual, comp ed). It paves the way for a greater focus on what funding levels are appropriate for special populations.
          We removed all funding that is not based on a state-recognized cost. Chapter 42 districts have their Available School Fund Per Capita deducted from other funding (so they don’t actually benefit); Chapter 41 districts get it on top of all other funding. We treat everyone the same. Things like hold-harmlesses are gone. About $24 billion was spent on Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR), which is nothing other than 11 years of special funding for high funded districts and is not related to any cost the state recognizes for non-receiving districts. The plan removes the wealth hold-harmless, the 1993 (originally 3-year) transition funding for the wealthiest districts that is still in place (and growing a quarter of a century later, eating up money that should go to fund the entire system through more-appropriate weights and higher basic allotments (which drive up the equalized wealth level, where recapture begins). It cut the number of Chapter 41 districts by two-thirds by taking all of this non-cost-based funding and increasing the basic allotment and equalized wealth level substantially.”

          This would be the mechanism to provide aid to the local districts, but we always have to remember that a better formula is only part of the problem. It needs to be adequately funded.

  • anonyfool

    OK, given this was the Trump adminstration, one should not be surprised that Trump just sold Qatar $12 billion dollars of arms days after this story broke. If we really think Qatar is that bad, why is Trump getting off scott free for this?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-sells-qatar-12-billion-arms-days-after-accusing-it-of-funding-terrorism/

    As an alumni of A&M I wish they hadn’t put a campus there, almost *all* of the Middle Eastern countries have an abysmal record on human rights just with respect to ordinary workers.

    In the Middle East, this situation just plainly reeks. Saudi Arabia send most of the guys and money here to attack us on 9/11 so that is the first place Trump visits and sells arms. Then he actually calls Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism and turns around and sells them arms. So we are selling arms to both sides in the Qatar versus Middle East, though no longer to Iran since we stopped Reagan, and support the third side which the rest of the Middle East hates, Israel. There is no way to engage here that is not going to make someone angry.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Trump does not have both oars in the water.

    • WUSRPH

      And, he will probably claim the deal in his Potemkin List of “jobs saved or created”. By this kind of actions he is creating a dangerous impression in the minds of both our friends and enemies in the world that they should not pay any attention to what he says about anything since he may say or do something else the next day. It also undermines the ability of the State/Defense and other departments to deal with foreign countries when he reverses the message they are sending within hours of it have been delivered like to did to the Secretary of State on Qatar last week. All that that makes it hard to make any sort of a deal…if may also encourage some to believe that they can do what they want without any real concern for how the US will react…Of course, that same uncertainty and inability to gauge what he might do might defer some other acts—which is the way Trump would defend his inconsistencies.

      • BCinBCS

        Potemkin List of jobs saved or created.

        I’m stealing the hell out of that.

      • BCinBCS

        It also undermines the ability of the State/Defense and other
        departments to deal with foreign countries when he reverses the message
        they are sending…

        Like throwing a kegger after the House passed the AHCA and then weeks later calling it “mean, mean, mean” and saying it must be rewritten to make it “more generous”.

        • WUSRPH

          I am beginning to think he gets some perverse thrill out of stabbing his aides and the Congress in the back……

          • anonyfool

            I am pretty sure he either doesn’t remember what he did earlier to contradict his later action or double thinks his way to believing it doesn’t contradict himself, whatever he does is the correct action.

          • WUSRPH

            I actually think it is deliberate….that he gets some sort of thrill and power boost by sending a aide out to do something and then contradicting him…..It shows the world “who is boss” and he enjoys watching them having to run to “correct” themselves. He loves pushing them around. He probably doesn’t have the physical courage to be a physical bully, so he is a mental one.

    • BCinBCS

      Anon wrote: “There is no way to engage here that is not going to make someone angry.

      Except the military-industrial complex.

    • WUSRPH

      But he’s selling more advanced planes to the Saudis…..I guess that is intended to show whose side he is really on.

  • WUSRPH

    Now we have VP Pence hiring an “outside counsel” in the Russiagate affair as if he fears he, too, might be under investigation….Where is this going to end….with the Speaker of the House as president? At least when Nixon went we had a VP ready to step up…(Of course, he was an appointed VP who had not been elected by the voters since Spiro T. had resigned esign because of a bribery charge.) Let us hope this does not go too far since Rick Perry is 15th in line for the job.

  • WUSRPH

    Don’t you just love the new Trump defense—-that we should overlook any thing he might have done because he’s not a politician and is “new to the game”? This, of course, explains why he might has assumed that it was okay to try to get the head of the FBI to drop an investigation and, when that did not work, first try to get the heads of the intelligence agencies to talk Comey into it and when that also failed, firing him. How can we expect the Donald to know that this might be “misinterpreted” by his enemies and some pesky prosecutor as “obstruction of justice”? After all, It was all an innocent attempt to sweep an embarrassing little incident under the rug…something that is done all the time in the world of a NY City developer.. People who are “new to the game” just don’t understand that there are laws about such things when you are in government. So, give the man time to learn.

    I wonder if a first time bank robber can use a similar defense….After all, he is also “new to the game” and did not fully understand that it was a crime.

  • WUSRPH

    Last week it was Sessions’ fault that he was being investigated. Earlier this week it was Mueller who was the bad guy… Today is Rod Rosenstein…..and Trump wonders why it is difficult to get people to work for him. I wonder how long it will take him to add his son-in-law and daughter to the list of traitors.

    I don’t think we’ve seen a nation’s leader lash out at his aides in such frequency since Hitler was down in his bunker.

    • José

      The funniest thing to me is all the lawyers who would have no qualms whatsoever about representing the guy but they turn him down because of his reputation for stiffing them.

    • SpiritofPearl

      What will be the outcome if Mueller is fired?

      • WUSRPH

        My answer was censored, but what I basically said was that there would public outrage but I doubted anything but a few words of mild condemnation would come from the GOP congress.

        • WUSRPH

          Not sure why it was censored….maybe because I used the words “smoking gun:” and said Trump, unlike Nixon, would not know when it is time to go.

      • WUSRPH

        My answer was censored, but what I basically said was that there would be public outrage but I doubted anything but a few words of mild condemnation would come from the GOP congress..

  • WUSRPH

    Well fellow Texans….you have a new right today—the right to discriminate against persons whose religious faith (or lack therefore) offends you— thanks to Gov. Abbott ignoring the Texas Equal Rights Amendment and signing several bills. Today that “freedom to discriminate” now applies only to adoptions and to being treated or served by a number of professionals…but do not fear….next time the right to discriminate against anyone and anything because of your “sincerely held religious beliefs” is sure to be extended to many, many more things. Welcome BACK to Puritan Massachusetts…and forget all that stuff George Washington said about:

    “The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy–a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience
    and immunities of citizenship.

    “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

    as, as of today, Today officially gives both “sanction” and “assistance” to discrimination.

    Let us hope that a State Judge can read the STATE CONSTITUTION and it won’t take a federal court to reverse this law.

  • donuthin2

    What happened to Paul Ryan. I once thought he might be a bright spot in the Republican party if he could only grow some gonads. Instead, his have completely atrophied.